Here's hoping there are warm hearts all around on this Valentine's Day, because that's about the only thing that's going to stay warm.

Yep, there's that Mardi Gras thing (whatever that can turn out to be this year), and if there was ever a Mardi Gras weekend that should be postponed, it’s this one.

The college baseball season opens later this week, and all any coach could wish is his starting pitchers have a curveball breaking as deep in the strike zone as the one Mother Nature is throwing at us today.

Ice and the outdoors are not a good combination; ice and Mardi Gras is only good as long as the ice is in a cup and is accompanied by some fortifying liquid distilled by masters.

This is one week when you should pay attention to the weather. By Monday, we could have ice on our roads. There’s a repeat of those same conditions come Wednesday, and Tuesday’s mostly sunny day will give way to another freeze Thursday night. After that the sun returns Friday and Saturday. So much for the long-range forecast.

Please, if there’s a lesson to be learned from that massive and deadly pile-up on I-35 West in Fort Worth, Texas, it’s that speed and icy conditions are a two-ingredient recipe for tragedy. This disaster alone should lead us to heed the hundreds of “Bridge ices before roadway” signs posted across our state.

Besides, it’ll be too cold to fish, and the geese moving here to allow for a blue, snow and Ross’ geese Conservation Order season likely will hang around just because there won’t be many places up North they’ll want to be.

About the only good thing to come from these below-freezing temperatures is that is knocks down the vegetation and provides rabbit hunters and their beagles the chance to move to the Feb. 28 close with near ideal conditions.

As for squirrels, the rain and ice will keep them in their nests. The backyard squirrels must have known this was coming. They’ve been hoarding acorns for the past two weeks.

Fishing

Just when the freshwater guys declared their quarry was moving in to spawn, winter storms Shirley and Uri have closed that door of opportunity.

It’s not only the frigid air temperatures and the lack of sunlight, but also adding in days of northerly winds and rain, which brings rising water to rivers and bayous feeding into the large basins. This sends water temperatures down and sends freshwater species back into early prespawn stages.

In brackish-water marshes, low-water levels (north winds) and icy conditions will force redfish and speckled trout to seek deep holes (warmer water) and remain relatively inactive until extended sunlight days provides enough warmth to move water temperatures back into the mid-50s.

Relief from these conditions is predicted Saturday when the predicted high is 68 under a sunny sky.

For now, staying home is likely the best tip of this week.

Don’t forget boats

Freezing conditions are not good for boat batteries. It’s best to unhook connections, remove those expensive cranking and trolling motor batteries and store them in a place where ambient temperatures will be warmer than 35 degrees.

And, make sure to remove as much water as possible from bilges and live wells. Freezing conditions can rupture intake and outflow tubes much more easily than it can break pipes in your home.

Same’s true for outboards. If you’ve been on the water lately, then the water pump in our outboard probably has water sitting in it and a freeze could expand water there and damage the impeller, which is something you won’t discover until your next fishing trip. Lower the outboard on the transom and let the water drain through the intake. You’ll be surprised to find out how much water is there.

Your voice

If you’ve put off commenting on the proposed 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 hunting seasons, then you have only about a month to voice your opinion.

Wildlife and Fisheries’ Wildlife Section managers have set Feb. 24 for a public meeting to outline the changes and take public comment.

Instead of a list of statewide meetings, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the agency to set up a Zoom meeting at 6:30 p.m. on that date.

To hear and see the presentation, the agency advises to type in this address on whatever device you have: https://wlf-la.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WvQJ-SlcSMasXEWC_gGQKw.

The presentation will include resident-game and migratory birds/waterfowl information along with wildlife management area and federal refuges rules and changes in regulations from past seasons.

Hunters who use Kisatchie National Forest lands should pay close attention to the many changes outlined in the proposed seasons.

Wildlife Divison biologist Tommy Tuma is in charge of handling all public comment, and he said the entire proposed season package can be seen on the LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov/resources/category/commission-action-items.

Tuma said public comment can be mailed to him: Tommy Tuma, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA, 70898-9000. His email address: ttuma@wlf.la.gov.

March 4 is the deadline for filing public comments.

Tip of the cap

George Serrett has retired from his many years organizing South Louisiana Highpower Club’s monthly matches. Don’t know how many years this diehard Baton Rouge rifleman served SLHP members and the thousands of adults and youngsters who showed up for the club’s last-Sunday-of-the-moth matches.

Serrett introduced hundreds living among us to the opportunity to qualify to purchase an M1-Garand through the Civilian Marksmanship Program, and spent days on days at the U.S. Army’s depot in Anniston, Alabama, restoring firearms like the Garand, the M1A1 Carbine and the 1903 Springfield rifles.

The club takes to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Range on the last Sunday of the month. Be there at 8:30 a.m. and the range “goes hot” at 9 a.m. Rick Mol is the new contact. Email: southlahighpower@hotmail.com.

New licenses

Wildlife and Fisheries no longer will print hunting and fishing licenses on what it called “durable stock paper,” and will print licenses on regular letter-sized sheets.

The move is to “eliminate aging hardware requirements associated with the traditional printed system.”

Here’s where the agency steps into the 21st century: hunters and fishers can have a digital copy of their licenses emailed to them and hold them in whatever smart device you own. The vendor has to have your email to do this, but it means carrying your cellular device whenever your go afield on to a fishing hole.

The bug-a-boo comes into this decision because deer and turkey tags must be printed for use in the field.

Have a question? Email the agency’s licensing section: LDWFLicensing@wlf.la.gov.

Catching up

  • The annual Kiwanis of Pointe Coupee open bass tournament is set March 21 on False River. Call Kenneth St. Romain at (225) 718-1319 for details.
  • Wildlife and Fisheries has scheduled Women’s Fishing 101 classes for April 10 and 24 then May 8 and 22 at its Waddill Wildlife Education Center on North Flannery Road in Baton Rouge.

Each session is limited to 15 women 18 and older, and up to 15 women will be selected from both the April and May sessions to participate in weekend workshop scheduled June 11-13 (April sessions) and June 25-27 (May sessions).

Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and certified aquatic volunteers will serve as instructors in the basics of fish identification, fish handling, equipment, skills and cleaning, storing, and cooking fish.

COVID-19 guidelines will be enforced, and women must have a current Louisiana fishing license.

The application deadline is March 5.

To apply, go to the LDWF website: wlf.louisiana.gov, then click on the “fishing” tab, then scroll down the left side to click on “Women’s Fishing Workshops.”